Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan commended a 23-year-old law student for bobbitising her rapist. At a press conference where he was asked to comment on the incident, he said: “It was a brave and courageous act. There’s nothing more to be done except give her support.”
The alleged rapist is Gangeshananda Theerthapada Swami aka Sreehari. Reports have said that he has been a member of the Panmana ashram, Kollam, for nearly six years. The ashram has denied the links, however.
The young woman who had been allegedly raped could no longer bear the torture and retaliated. So, on May 19, at around 11.30 p.m. when the Godman tried to rape her again she was ready with a knife at her Kannumula home in Thiruvananthapuram.
She then swiftly cut off his penis with the knife. When he was rushed to the Medical College Hospital by the neighbours almost 90 percent of the penis was detached and dangling by the skin. After her deed, she herself called the Pettah Police station, Thiruvananthapuram and reported the matter.
When the police arrived, she told them that the Godman had been raping her from when she was 17 years old and she saw no other way out other than to defend herself in the way that she did. The family had met the Godman in the ashram and he had developed a relationship with them. When the victim’s father was paralysed, the Godman frequented the house on the pretext of healing her father and praying for the family to receive God’s blessings but the Godman started making advances on the girl. On Friday, only the girl and her mother were at home. Her brother had gone out. The mother is irregularly employed as a domestic help and the victim’s younger brother has a job.
A case has been registered against Sreehari under POCSO and for rape. There is no case against the mother or the victim, say the police. Neither has the mother been detained. Though an emergency operation was done on Sreehari by plastic surgeons at the hospital, the penis could not be re-attached fully.
A picture of the Godman with BJP state president Kummanam Rajasekharan had surfaced on social media and there were reports that the Godman had frequented many Hindu Aikyavedi programs and meetings. However, Rajasekharan had denied he knew the Godman personally.
Horrifyingly, the number of rape cases involving minors has been on the rise in Kerala state though the Communist party had come to power promising greater security to women in the state.